Tory MP calls for fossil fuel divestment

| 29th October 2018
Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire
Luke Graham is first Scottish Conservative to call on MPs' Pension Fund to drop investments in oil.

Political statements on the need to tackle climate change need to be backed up by actions, of which one of the most effective is the removal of investments from companies that promote the use of fossil fuels.

Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire is the latest MP and the first Scottish Conservative to sign the Divest Parliament pledge. 

The pledge is calling for the MPs' Pension Fund to phase out its substantial investments in fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP.  

The campaign has now been supported by 189 cross-party MPs, including 32 Scottish MPs. More than half of the SNP MPs have signed the pledge, including the leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber), along with Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) and Labour MP Ian Murray (Edinburgh South).

Low-carbon transition 

The pledge has also been signed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and a small but growing number of Conservative MPs, including Justine Greening (Putney) and James Heappey (Wells).

Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, said: “I care deeply about raising the profile of environmental issues across Ochil & South Perthshire and this includes supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy that helps tackle climate change and create jobs.

"As such, I am pleased to back the Divest Parliament campaign and believe my pension should be invested in an environmentally sustainable and ethical way.”

Mr Graham’s pledge comes as constituents across the UK are urging their local MPs to show they care about climate change by calling on their pension fund to align its investments with the UK’s climate change commitments.

Andrew Llanwarne, co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth Tayside said: "It's very encouraging to see that Luke Graham has stepped forward and signed the Divest Parliament pledge.  He is setting a good example for some longer-established parliamentary colleagues to follow.

Local support

Llanwarne continued: "Political statements on the need to tackle climate change need to be backed up by actions, of which one of the most effective is the removal of investments from companies that promote the use of fossil fuels.”

Sally Clark, a volunteer for Divest Parliament in Scotland said: “After a summer of extreme temperatures across the globe and devastating storms in America and the Philippines, there is no room for continued investment in companies extracting fossil fuels that we cannot afford to burn if we are to meet our climate obligations.

"I am extremely pleased that Luke Graham has responded positively to the concerns of his constituents by backing this campaign."

Fiona Gilbert, Ochil and South Perthshire resident and founder and creative development manager of Remake Scotland said: “As a community reuse and resource charity, Remake Scotland based in Crieff is delighted that our local MP Luke Graham has just become the first Scottish Conservative MP to sign the Divest Parliament pledge to tackle climate change and divest his pension away from fossil fuels."

Climate obligations 

The last Annual Report for MPs Pension Fund revealed five out of the top twenty investments were in fossil fuel companies such as BP, Shell and Total.

These investments are in stark contrast to the recent report issued to politicians by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is urging unprecedented action to reduce emissions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

Campaigners argue that keeping below 1.5 degrees, requires leaving the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and ceasing development of new coal, gas and oil supplies.

Supported by the Divest Parliament campaign, UK citizens have been writing to and organising meetings with their MPs to raise awareness of the issue.

This Author 

Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist. This story is based on a press release from Friends of the Earth Scotland.

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